My background, as most within our Restoration Awakening, is rooted in the Sunday Christian church, of which I make no apologies. I was "saved" through the ministry of the Southern Baptists. After a couple of years of study and walking with God, I found my way into the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement. After several years of study and being mentored for ministry, I was appointed to pastor a church within that mainline Pentecostal denomination. Thus, I have been to many international Pentecostal conventions where I have witnessed some genuine moves of the Holy Spirit and some not so genuine. Yes, I'm looking forward to Orlando and a certifiable genuine move of the Ruach and not something conjured up as we were subliminally taught as Pentecostal ministers.
In 2009, I was honored to team up with Batya Wootten and write a book entitled; "Israel - Empowered By the Spirit". There we attempted to explain why the Messianic Movement is generally as dry as the Sahara Desert. Yes, we acknowledge that there are pockets of Holy Spirit manifestations within our congregations but generally speaking, as Messianics, we have put the Holy Spirit on the back burner because of the fact that we have been so focused on Torah. Now, of course, I'm not saying that it is wrong to focus our life and walk in YHVH's Torah because that is just what Abba has asked His covenant people to do. But generally speaking, we've been walking in our own power and intellect and not in the power that Yahweh has given us through His Holy Spirit. Our Conferences, Conventions and Gatherings within the "Messianic Movement" reflect this focus. It's been "Torah-Torah-Torah" with little or no room given to the Ruach, except for a minute or two at the end of a song service, and if the Holy Spirit doesn't show up in that allotted time slot then we move on with our set schedule of more Torah. (Don't shoot me just yet. Remember, I believe that the truths of Torah are essential to our walk!)
Yes, the Founders and the Shepherds of the MIA, through much prayer and meditation have determined to allow the Holy Spirit/Ruach haKodesh full reign and we pray that our sovereign God will rain His Ruach upon us in a genuine outpouring. Barking, belly laughing and gold confectioners' sugar coming from the air vents or any other counterfeit or conjured up "move of the Spirit" will not be found. We are looking for and in full expectation of a genuine move of Holy Spirit that will take us to our knees. I have experienced this on rare occasions in my Pentecostal walk. I have also found that a genuine move of the Spirit is conditional and it relates to the title of this article. Let me explain.
I'll use a real old joke. I almost hesitate to use this but it sets the stage for my point, so, here it goes.
"What kind of car does the Bible say the disciples drove?" Answer: "A Honda, because they were all in one accord." Go ahead, giggle a little, I know you want to.
This is a double entendre. Besides the pun, Believers are often jibed for not getting along. This has been especially true in the Messianic Movement where we have been labeled "Messy Messianics". Because of the messiness of the Messianic Movement I tend to lean more toward an identification marker of "Restoration Awakening". I didn't coin this moniker but I find it more conducive of the Messianic Israel Alliance and our stated mission of unity of the House of Judah and the House of Joseph into one united house. As Batya has often said, "We are a 'One House' movement!"
The Honda joke speaks of unity. However, far too many believe that this unity will only occur in heaven or in the age to come. Not so! Let's remember that the disciples were in the "upper room" doing what Yeshua had instructed. They waited until they were "baptized with the Holy Spirit." While together, Acts 1:24 says they also; "all continued with one accord in prayer . . ."
We assume our unity comes from the Holy Spirit, and though this can be generally true, we see clearly in these verses from the Book of Acts that the Holy Spirit had not yet descended to fill these Believers, yet they still were driving that Honda - in one accord. So, what was their point of unity?
The Bible says those who believe in Yeshua received new life in the finished work of Messiah, and the indwelling Spirit of God. Rather than get out of the Honda and argue about it, one thing is clear; these covenant children of Israel were described as being in one accord and this was before the Spirit came. They had at least some kind of unity.
Some of their 'oneness' is described in Ephesians 4:1-4 where Paul tells us to "walk worthy of our calling . . . in humility and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all."
We have this kind of unity even with our western/Greek thinking Christian brothers and sisters. All Believers have one hope; we know we are going to be with Yeshua when we receive our great reward.
So, why do we have such disunity now? Why do we have such a joke that needles our well-known inability to get along? It's just as I said earlier, we've been walking in our own power and intellect and not in the power that God has given us through His Holy Spirit. We've been out of balance. It reminds me of what we were taught in old Pentecostal schools: "If you have the Scriptures without the Spirit you'll dry up, if you have the Spirit without the Scriptures you'll blow up, if you have both the Scripture and the Holy Spirit, you'll grow up."
The "Messianic Movement" has been to dry for far too long and now it is time to grow up. This is exactly why we desire to have our Bar Mitzvah at the Orlando gathering in the declaration that we are putting away childish things.
Another reason for our disunity is that we have had teachers in sheep's clothing who are leaving "wolf tracks" behind them. With a re-newed anointing of the Holy Spirit, perhaps like that Pentecostal day in the 1st century, we'll be granted the "discernment" to separate the sheep from the wolves. Thus, we will grow in unity. Make no bones about it. Speaking of bones . . .
I'll conclude this article with a portion of the Preface I wrote in: "Israel-Empowered By the Spirit" in 2009:
"A new and promised outpouring of the Ruach is certain, Ezekiel defined it, and through him we'll see how it applies to us.
"The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?' So I answered, 'O Lord GOD, You know.' Again He said to me, 'Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD.' So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. Also He said to me, 'Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.' So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then He said to me, 'Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off! Therefore prophesy and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it,' says the LORD" (Ezekiel 37:1-14, NASB).
YHVH is causing our dead bones to live again. He is assembling the whole House of Israel, both Judah and Ephraim. In the years of this movement, bones have been brought together and sinews have formed - that which connects the bones, which is our Hebrew roots, our heritage. Flesh or muscle has been added- which gives strength and allows us to stand upright. Strengthening comes from realizing the eternal truths of YHVH's Torah: "You shall therefore keep every commandment . . . so that you may be strong and go in and possess the land . . ." (Deu 11:8). Skin has covered the flesh - which makes one identifiable. In the Messianic Movement this would be, Messianic Judaism, Messianic Israel, Messianic Independents, etc. However, our God does not want brother Judah, those who have yet to recognize Yeshua as Messiah, to be left out of this bone assembly. Verse 11 reads, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel." Thus, both Judah and Ephraim are included.
We are on the precipice of the fulfillment of verse 14: "I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live." We are at the juncture where our God is about to put his Ruach, His breath of life, into our lives and our movement. Then, He will bring us back to our own land.
God's Word is sure. It is going to happen. We are going to return home to the Promised Land. That time is soon and very soon. We can be sure of this promise because we already see a partial fulfillment in the return of the House of Judah to the modern State of Israel. YHVH says He will "save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah" (Zec 12:7).
The tents of Judah have been and are presently being established in the Land. The Jews have been returning to the modern State of Israel in record numbers for decades now. They are truly being established "first." Logic dictates that if there is a first then there must be something that comes after. That is the day Messianic Israel, the House of Ephraim, is looking forward to: their return and the restoration of all things. One day soon, Ephraim and Judah will dwell together in the Land of Israel. Our God will have His way. His Kingdom will be established in His Land. At its center will be His chosen capital, Jerusalem. But before this occurs, there shall be a tremendous outpouring of His Holy Spirit, His Divine Ruach."
Could our Father's divine outpouring of the Ruach haKodesh be granted us at the Orlando gathering? Yahweh is sovereign thus we dare not command, but we can certainly ask. And, if all in attendance at our gathering will jump in the Honda and seek common ground, being of one mind, knowing that the Holy Spirit baptism/anointing is for our generation as much as it was for Yeshua's disciples, then at least we will have met the requisite condition . . . Unity!
That's why I'm excited about the Orlando gathering, August 30th through September 2nd. I sincerely hope to see you there.
For more information about the Gathering and to register for it, see the gathering.messianicisrael.com or see the attached Gathering Registration Form to register by mail, or call us at: 425-745-1396.